Tag Archives: education

529 Day Inspired Learning Giveaway

 

Enter to Win Tickets to One of Washington's Museums and Inspire Lifelong Learning

 

PROMOTION INFORMATION

At GET we believe that learning doesn’t begin or end in the classroom. It starts with the first question, and draws on the world around us for inspiration. To celebrate 529 day, GET would like to offer you a week-long chance to win tickets to one of Washington’s many fantastic science centers or museums in hopes that a visit may fan the flames of curiosity in your little learner. “Like” one of our 529 day Facebook posts and send us “529 Day” as a direct Facebook message before 11:59 pm on May 31 to be entered into a drawing to win one of six prize packages! Winners will select tickets to a museum/science center* of their choice from the following list:

Group A

  • Pacific Science Center – Seattle
  • Seattle Art Museum – Seattle
  • Museum of Flight – Seattle

Group B

  • Hands on Children’s Museum – Olympia
  • Mobius Science Center – Spokane
  • Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture – Spokane
  • Washington History Museum – Tacoma
  • Children’s Museum of Tacoma – Donation only
  • Imagine Children’s Museum – Everett
  • The Reach Museum – Richland
  • Children’s Museum of Skagit County – Burlington
  • Whatcom Museum – Bellingham

* The named museums/science centers do not support or endorse this promotion or the GET program.

The prize packages are as follows:

Grand Prize – $80 value (1 winner)

Choose 1

  • 4 tickets to a Group A venue
  • 8 tickets to a Group B venue

First Prize – $60 value (2 winners)

Choose 1

  • 3 tickets to a Group A venue
  • 6 tickets to a Group B venue

Second Prize – $40 value (3 winners)

Choose 1

  • 2 tickets to a Group A venue
  • 4 tickets to a Group B venue

Dates

This promotion will run Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at 11:59 pm.

DISCLAIMER INFORMATION

GET’s Inspired Learning promotion will take place from Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – Wednesday, May 31, 2017. There will be a total of six (6) prizes awarded (One Grand Prize, two First Prizes, and three Second Prizes. See above for prize package descriptions). Prizes will be awarded at the end of the promotion by a process of random selection from a pool of all individuals who “Like” one of GET’s 529 day Facebook posts. The order of the prize drawing will be from least to most valuable prize package, with the “Grand Prize” awarded last. Individuals who “Like” one of GET’s 529 day posts AND send us “529 Day” as a direct Facebook message before 11:59 pm on May 31 will receive a maximum of one entry into the final prize drawing. The prize drawing will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, June 1, 2017.

Selected winners will be notified via Facebook direct message and will have seven (7) days to claim their prize and if they do not, GET program staff will hold additional drawings until a selected winner claims his or her prize. Individuals can only win one prize package during the course of the entire promotion. Washington Student Achievement Council employees and their families are not eligible for this promotion. The named museums/science centers do not support or endorse this promotion or the GET program.

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GET’s Response to Lowered Tuition

Last night the Washington State Legislature passed a budget and accompanying legislation to lower tuition at the state’s colleges and universities. This legislation is expected to be signed into law by the Governor today. This historic event will make college more affordable and accessible for more Washington families and current students. Below you will find responses to questions arising from this legislation in order to provide you with more information about the impacts to the GET program.

In the meantime, customers with account-specific questions can call the GET Contact Center at 800-955-2318 or email getinfo@wsac.wa.gov. As information becomes available, updates will be shared on the GET website.

What does lower tuition mean for students today?

  • This historic event will make college more affordable and accessible for more Washington families and current students.
  • More specifically, tuition will be reduced at the state’s two research institutions (UW & WSU) by five percent in the 2015-16 academic year and by another ten percent in the 2016-17 academic year for a total two year reduction of 15 percent. This is important because these are the two institutions for which GET’s payout value is based upon.
  • The legislation goes on to say that beginning in the 2017-18 academic year, tuition operating fees for resident undergraduates at community and technical colleges, may increase by no more than the state’s average annual growth rate in median hourly wage as determined by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How will this impact my student if they are needing to use their units in the next two years?

  • In response to lower tuition, the legislation states that for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, the GET Committee shall set the payout value for units redeemed at the 2014-15 rate of $117.82 per unit.

What happens to the value of my account if I am not going to use my units in the next two years? Will I lose money?

  • Beginning in the 2017-18 academic year, the GET Committee is required to make the necessary program adjustments to ensure GET customer accounts are not decreased or diluted as a result of lower tuition. This may include a cash refund, additional units, a minimum payout value, or another solution that is deemed appropriate. Part of a feasibility study the program will be conducting during the next 18 months is to develop a resolution to this issue.

What is the GET Committee going to do about the future of the program?

  • By December 1, 2016, the legislation calls for the GET Committee to review and report to the legislative fiscal and higher education committees on the following:
    • The impact of reducing tuition on the funded status of GET and future unit prices;
    • The feasibility of establishing a traditional 529 college savings program;
    • Alternatives of linking GET to tuition and fees and linking GET to a cost of attendance metric;
    • And the current state penalty for nonqualified withdrawals
  • Details regarding next steps for the GET program will be discussed at the GET Committee meeting on Monday, July 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Senate Hearing Room 3 on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. As information becomes available, updates will be shared on the GET website.

Does the two year freeze in payout also mean a two year freeze in unit cost? Does this mean the current unit cost is now calibrated to a tuition cost 15% less than today?

  • These are good questions and issues the GET Committee will be addressing. The Committee will be meeting on Monday, July 13 to begin conversations around future unit pricing; however, a great deal of analysis will need to be done by the State Actuary and other financial experts before any future pricing formulas will be considered.

Who’s the Boss?

Of course, we’re all unique people and none of us are exactly the same. There is, however, something we all have in common…we all have bosses! Even the “top dog” in an organization has someone they must answer to, whether that be the regional/state/federal/corporate office, customers (yes, they ARE the boss), or even (dare I say?) that special someone at home. Some of us are even lucky enough to have multiple bosses with competing priorities.

Bosses are obviously a big, important part of our lives, because without them, we’d have no one to sign our paychecks, tell us what to do, or remind us of every little thing we’ve done wrong. Ok, but seriously, for better or worse, bosses play a huge role in our lives. Good bosses provide us with critical, constructive feedback and support that helps us not only effectively contribute to the success of the team, but grow in our own professional development. On the other hand, bad bosses can create an environment of low employee morale and high turnover. Keep in mind that there’s still a lot that you can learn from a bad boss, especially in how (or how not) to treat others.

Also keep in mind that just because you may not see eye-to-eye with a boss, or if they are hard to please, it doesn’t mean that they’re a bad boss. High-functioning organizations have a diverse mix of personalities and backgrounds. These differences can sometimes lead to disagreement, but are necessary in growing as a team and successfully adapting in our rapidly changing business environment.

So why am I talking about bosses? Thursday, October 16th is Boss’s Day! I hope that you take this opportunity to make time to show appreciation to that special someone that you report to. And don’t feel pressured to find the perfect gift or to try to outdo your coworkers. There’s nothing wrong with a simple card or thank you note. On the other hand, if you are a boss, this can also be a great opportunity for you to reflect on your relationship with your team, and ensure you’re creating a safe and respectful culture within your office. In the immortal words of Michael Scott: “Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

Written by Lucas Minor

GET Program Returns to Fully Funded Status

funded status image

There is no doubt that education is the key to unlocking the door to opportunity. Throughout the past several years, new research continues to provide supportive evidence that a college degree not only increases the economic earning power of both individuals and our state economy, but it’s also proven to contribute to improved health and other social benefits such as increased homeownership, voting rates, and community volunteerism.

While there is no denying that the cost of a college education has increased dramatically over the past two decades, the citizens of Washington state continue to display their growing value of a college degree by saving more of their hard-earned dollars for their children’s future higher education expenses. In fact, since 1999, Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program has paid more than a half billion dollars in higher education expenses on behalf of more than 37,000 students.

funded status calloutThe GET program now manages more than 157,000 college savings accounts that are valued at close to $3 billion. Just recently, the State Actuary, Matt Smith, announced that the program’s funded status is 106 percent and it is expected to meet all of its financial obligations for current enrollees.

The financial health of the program has definitely improved over the past few years. Last year, the program enhanced its solvency report card grade from a “B” to an “A” rating and this year the program surpassed its 2021 projected funded status (seven years earlier than expected). The positive change in the program’s funded status is due primarily to strong investment returns and the fact that tuition did not increase at the state’s universities for the second straight year.

Having tuition continue to remain flat is a huge reprieve for Washington families who experienced double-digit tuition growth from 2009 to 2013. Over the past 10 years, tuition has increased an average of 8.6 percent per year, which has contributed to the growth in student debt that is now valued at more than $1.2 trillion nationally.

Ultimately, our goal as an organization is to switch the personal finance of higher education from a debt-driven model to a savings-driven model so that when a student completes their degree, they have the financial freedom to pursue their dreams and take an active role in contributing to our state’s economy and communities.

We strive to accomplish this goal every day by offering Washington families incentives, tools, and resources to help them save, make wise investment decisions, and to make it as easy as possible to make regular contributions to their accounts. By providing these resources to families, their children will be better positioned to continue to grow and prosper in their academic pursuits.

Written by Betty Lochner, GET Program Director

Six tips for keeping your kids’ brains free of summer cobwebs

SummerSoccer

“School’s out for summer!” As a kid, this four-letter phrase was music to my ears and signaled the start of the greatest time of year. It’s probably safe to say the same goes for your kids. I mean, what’s better than three carefree months to kick back, forget homework and just be a kid?

But just because there are no teachers or lesson plans doesn’t mean learning should be put on hold. Studies show that on average, a student loses at least a month of grade level equivalency over summer break.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun (yes, FUN!) activities that will help keep your children’s brain moving all summer long. Here are some ideas to get you started:

#1 Get Out of the House
Whether it’s your yard, the park or deep in the forest, there are so many things to stimulate their senses and brain. Set up activities that will challenge your kids to explore and analyze the world around them. Try a nature scavenger hunt – create a list of some common and harder to find animals, leaves, plants, etc. When all of the items have been spotted or collected, spend some time talking about and researching each item.

#2 Crack Open a Book or Two
Make regular visits to your local library, and get your children involved in summer reading programs. You may even want to set up your own family reading competition (perhaps with the allure of fabulous prizes).

ReadaBook

#3 Turn the Mundane into Food for the Brain
Even routine activities can be a valuable learning opportunity. For instance, a grocery store trip can be a math lesson. If you’re a bargain shopper, let your children help you calculate which item is the better deal. Back at home, ask your kids to help with reading recipes and measuring ingredients. This is a great way to keep analytical abilities sharp.

#4 Plan a Close to Home Adventure
There are so many opportunities to expand your children’s’ minds, right in your own community. Visit your local museum, nature preserve or art exhibit. Talk to the guides, read the informational signs and encourage your kids to ask questions. Keep an eye out for special exhibits and free admission days.

 #5 It Still Can be Fun and Games
If your children are into video games, be sure to incorporate educational games into their collection. There are also plenty of free tablet/smartphone apps out there that will keep the learning and the fun coming. If you want them to break away from the screen, good old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles are especially effective at stimulating many parts of the brain.

 #6 Make Money Count
And of course, one of our favorite activities to talk about is saving money! Teaching kids how to manage finances instills responsibility and helps maintain computational skills. There are many ways to go about this, such as tying allowances to household chores, helping your children set up their very own savings accounts, or using multi-compartment piggy banks to budget the amount they save, spend and share with others.

 Go For It!
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Your kids may complain a little that they can’t sleep in and watch TV all day, but they may just thank you in the future when they’re crossing the stage to pick up their college degrees.

Written by Lucas Minor